At least 29 protesting scribes held in Nepal | india | Hindustan Times
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At least 29 protesting scribes held in Nepal

Some 100 scribes had gathered for the rally by a federation of journalists when police moved in and began making arrests.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2006 12:27 IST

Police arrested 29 journalists who were protesting in Kathmandu to demand an end to a crackdown on the media by the government, which has detained scores of journalists during pro-democracy protests in recent days.

Some 100 journalists had gathered for the rally organised by the Nepalese Federation of Journalists when police moved in and began making arrests because the demonstration was being held in a part of Kathmandu that has been declared off-limits to protests.

More than 100 other journalists have been arrested since the latest wave of protests against King Gyanendra began on April 5. However, all have since been released.

Gyanendra seized control over the government 14 months ago, saying he needed to stamp out political corruption and end a communist insurgency that has left nearly 13,000 people dead in the past decade.

The royal government has since imposed severe restrictions on journalists and introduced new media laws.

Criticism of the king, the government and security forces has been banned.

The government also has prohibited independent reporting on the country's communist insurgency, imposing a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine of 500,000 rupees ($7,000; euro5,800) on journalists and newspapers that violate the ban.

Wednesday's arrests came hours before a seven-party opposition alliance, which has been organising the protests that have gripped Nepal in recent days, was to hold a rally in central Kathmandu.

While the government has imposed daytime curfews in Kathmandu since Saturday to head off such demonstrations in the centre of the capital, no curfew had been announced by mid-morning on Wednesday.